Concussions Increase All Injury Risks for College Football Players
When we tune into sports news, there is often mention of injuries in college football. This can include some significant injuries that players are sustaining for the first time or a recurring injury that has plagued the athlete for years.
While we know that the contact of a sport like college football increases the risk of those playing to suffer a serious injury. Did you know, though, that there are other influences that can factor into long-term injury risks and how often they are sustained?
According to a recent study, it has been shown that those who suffer significant concussions are more prone to suffer other injuries (particularly core, lower-extremity, and additional head injuries) when returning to college football. Here are some of the things brought forth by the study that shows concussions—even without symptoms—can be indicative of an increased risk of additional injuries.
How Can a Concussion Increase the Risk of Injury?
According to the study, roughly anywhere from 1.6 and 3.8 million athletes suffer a concussion as a result of contact in their sports. In many of these situations, some of the impacts can last anywhere from seven to ten days. However, there are several instances in which those injured can suffer much longer from the motor control deficits and other subtle impacts.
The examples used detail a wide receiver in college football. In order to perform his job successfully, his coordination, motor, and cognitive skills must be at peak performance to run a route and avoid significant injury. This can include recognizing potential dangers (defensive players), being aware of surroundings, and focusing on the ball as the quarterback throws it.
When a football player returns from a concussion, these abilities may not be up to par and the decisions made can put him at significant risk of harm. As a matter of fact, the study looked into 89 different NCAA football players. These are some of the stats concerning the players with regard to injuries they suffered:
- Of the 89 players screened, 30 of them had suffered an injury by the end of the season. These injuries ranged from joint and muscle strains to other ailments.
- Of the 89 players screened, 33 reported concussions prior to the season, making them two times as likely to suffer an injury when compared to those who had no history of concussions.
- Those who played in five or more games were considered roughly six times more likely to suffer an injury of any kind than those who played fewer than five games.
The 89 players were also put through various tests before the season to determine musculoskeletal function, response to external stimuli, and time of communication from brain to the body. These tests correlate to the various functions impacted when an athlete suffers a concussion. Higher scores and faster times indicated less risk of injury.
Those with lower scores and slower times (which may have indicated concussion) were more likely to suffer serious injuries. It should be noted that researchers believe simpler tests must be developed to help identify potential risk of injury in other athletes.
How Does an Athlete with a Concussion Rehabilitate?
While there are many schools and college football teams with medical programs in place, how does a player who suffers significant brain injury rehabilitate? How does prevention play a role in the rehabilitation? And can athletes be prescreened before returning to the game to assess the risk of significant injuries occurring?
It is imperative that college football players have full cognitive and motor capabilities when they’re in the game. Any disability to these functions puts them at risk of serious danger when you consider the impact often seen, heard, and felt when football players collide. Putting a player back in the game when they haven’t been fully removed of symptoms can be a negligent action.
There are several athletes who suffer concussions, then go on to suffer other musculoskeletal and lower extremity injuries, but there are also those who suffer subsequent concussions. This is ever-increasing damage to the player’s brain which can also result in suffering long-term effects.
What Happens If a Concussed Player Is Allowed to Play?
Concussion protocols are supposed to be implemented for a reason. This allows a player who has been concussed to be properly diagnosed and treated, and a decision regarding their playing status to be determined. While there are times when those with significant concussions are held out for days, weeks, or even months to recover, there are other situations in which concussed players are allowed to return to play.
What does this accomplish? A high risk for even further damage to occur and potential permanent brain damage.
Many people and organizations don’t like to admit it, but there are sometimes where concussions are hidden. They’re not reported, and the players are put back in the game because they present a high value to their teams. So it goes, the long-term health of the player often comes secondary to the potential of a victory.
Whether the player feels they can play, it is up to the medical staff to ensure they’re doing their due diligence and holding a player out of the game when their injury is significant. Unfortunately, there are times when the symptoms are ignored and for the sake of the outcome of the game, seriously concussed players may be allowed to return to the game.
In these situations, the only result that matters is whatever it is that happens to the concussed player; which can be even more injuries to their body, brain, or both.
College Athletes Deserve Compensation
Whenever the health of a college football player is put to the side for the universities benefit, the player is put at significant risk of experiencing a lifelong injury. This should never happen. When it does, the injured player deserves the right to hold the team, staff, and any other responsible party accountable.
The player is often left to pick up the pieces on their own. Dealing with their injury alone and feeling as though their school and team used them for success without caring for their health can be very difficult to experience.
At Shrader & Associates, we have made the rights of former college football players a focus, working to help them in this battle. You shouldn’t have to live with the ongoing health issues often associated with suffering a concussion, multiple concussions, or other injuries stemming from the cognitive and motor disabilities following a concussion.
Many of those who used to play the game either don’t recognize their rights or feel as though they should honor that decision and not file a claim. What you should know, though, is that you are in a billion-dollar industry. If you don’t make it pro, you don’t see any of that money. After many significant injuries, the chances of you getting to the NFL and making the money needed to heal are much less.
Our sports injury attorneys are here to help you during this difficult time. Many of those who suffer concussions experience serious symptoms that go beyond the cognitive and motor issues many endure. They can experience suicidal thoughts, behavioral changes, and more. We’re here to help seek compensation.